After being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, Lavender Employee Sue Young is on the road to recovery. Her daughter Rachel will be doing a charity bike ride with her family to fundraise for Blood Cancer UK, and raise awareness of the stem cell donors that help save lives like Sue.
Sue, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in early May 2021. Since then, she has been in and out of hospital until her recent successful stem cell transplant in February 2022.
Sue Young retired as Quality Manager at Lavender International in December 2021, after 20 years of employment. Sue had been responsible for developing effective quality control processes across the training schools ensuring procedures, standards and specifications maintain company standards. Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Sue will agree that she is a beacon of light, and we at Lavender International are sending her our love and wish her all the best in her recovery.
Her husband, Les Young provided invigilating services with us since 2015, before providing technical support as an NDT Technician. Les also retired this year in February 2022.
CHARITY BIKE RIDE
To show support for Sue, their daughter Rachel Black, is doing the “Coast to Coast” bike ride with her husband Gareth and their two young children Beitidh and Martha. This challenge aims to raise money for Blood Cancer UK as well as raising awareness of stem cell donation. From the 2nd September to 5th September 2022, Rachel and her family will ride a staggering 140 miles from Whitehaven on the North West coast, through Cumbria, the Lake District and the Pennines to Sunderland on the North East coast.
After her initial diagnosis, Sue visited Sheffield hospital every day for one week each month for chemotherapy injections. This was repeated 4 times, and formed her initial course of chemotherapy. Following this, Sue had a bone marrow biopsy and was diagnosed with Leukaemia – a form of blood cancer. Amazingly, Sue continued to work as Quality Manager supporting the quality team throughout her treatment.
From September 2021, she went through more intensive chemotherapy and consequently was in and out of hospital for 4-5 weeks at a time until the end of January.
Remarkably, the NHS found Sue a match for donor stem cells and on the 16th February 2022, Sue had a stem cell transplant. The week leading up to the transplant was an intensive week of chemotherapy, with the purpose of destroying her bone marrow ready to take on the donor stem cells.
The two weeks following her transplant consisted of chemotherapy treatment to stop the transplanted cells from attacking further organs. These two weeks are crucial to see if the new cells are accepted by Sue’s body.
We are pleased to say that Sue’s transplant has been a success, and she returned home from hospital at the beginning of March after almost 4 weeks in hospital.
Sue is now being monitored for 3 months post-transplant by visiting the hospital twice weekly. The next step is 9 months of a more manageable hospital visiting schedule, after which Sue will have fully recovered. Between now and then, due to the lack of immunity, Sue will have to have all her childhood injections again, as well as her Covid vaccines. The months ahead will be a slow rebuilding of her immune system back up to regular levels.
WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP
The Blood Cancer UK is a charity dedicated to beating blood cancer, through research and support.
In order to save patients’ lives through the treatment researched by Blood Cancer UK, the donor stem cells have to carry a special genetic marker that is identical or very similar to the patient. The stem cell registries are made up of potential donors and mean that individuals like Sue can find their match.
The donations from the blood stem cell register offers a second chance of life and can be a lifesaver in certain cases.
Rachel wants to raise awareness of these registers and encourage people to sign up.
“I don’t think I can ever put into words how grateful we are to that lifesaver who signed up to the register and is giving my mam that second chance. He will never know, but we will always remember. If you can do anything, please join the register.”
– Rachel Black
To support this amazing cause and donate, visit: